Egypt solves its SCALP problem
Following a lengthy controversy, Dassault Rafale aircraft operated by the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) appear to have finally been armed with the MBDA SCALP long-range stand-off attack missile.
The EAF fleet includes 24 Rafales, the last of which arrived in July 2019, and Egypt was in advanced negotiations to purchase 12 more.
However, this deal fell into limbo after the Pentagon blocked an export licence for US-made components in the SCALP missile, leaving MBDA to cast about for an alternative.
According to a media announcement from the Egyptian MoD, the EAF Rafales are now fitted with the SCALP EG missile.
The fact that SCALP now equips the Egyptian aircraft suggests that either the US abandoned its original position, or that MBDA was able to find replacement components.
Unblocking the logjam with SCALP also removes a major obstacle in the way of the follow-on Rafale order, which Shephard Defence Insight estimates is worth $1.2 billion.
SCALP was designed and developed primarily for France and the UK (where it is known as Storm Shadow in RAF service). It is designed to target key buildings and structures such as bunkers, control centres, port facilities, missile sites, bridges and airfields.
SCALP is fitted with a 450kg BROACH warhead, an inertial and GPS navigation system with IR imaging guidance system, and a microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet. It can fly at speeds of Mach 0.8 and has a flight altitude of 30-40km.
The missile is also in service with the air forces of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
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